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06-15-2015, 11:39 AM   #1
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K-3/k-3 ii iso

I'm still shooting with my first DSLR, the K10D. Overall I've been very happy with it, aside from one thing, the ISO. I've experienced terrible image noise issues with my K10D, usually linked with ISO. I'm basically stuck with my max range as 800 or I get image ruining noise and banding.

Recently I've been looking through flickr metadata on shots that I like, and I'm noticing a low-light theme where standout images are shot at massive ISO numbers, from 1600-32,000.

It's time to upgrade, and I'm thinking seriously of the K-3 (I'm on a tight budget), but I read in a few reviews that it has some image noise issues.

Can anyone weight in? Happy with noise levels? Unhappy? Words of wisdom?

06-15-2015, 11:45 AM   #2
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Starting from the K10D you will be happy with al camera's available at the time.

Last edited by RonHendriks1966; 06-17-2015 at 01:34 PM.
06-15-2015, 11:49 AM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dr. Zee Quote
It's time to upgrade, and I'm thinking seriously of the K-3 (I'm on a tight budget), but I read in a few reviews that it has some image noise issues.
The differences noted in the reviews are due to the differences between the k-5 and k-3 sensors. When the k-3 first came out pixel peepers (including myself) noted that there seemed to be more noise in k-3 images than we saw in the k-5. However, if the image is downsized to the same 16mp as the k-5 there is no discernible difference. And noise on the k-3 seems to clean up easier perhaps because of the higher mp count and finer grain.

Anyway, my tolerance for noise is essentially zero and I am fine with ISO 800 on the k-3 at full size with only minor cleanup. Many use it at much higher ISOs than I do with no issues. It is just a matter of applying the noise reduction in post.

Coming from the k10d the change will be dramatic.
06-15-2015, 11:49 AM - 1 Like   #4
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From the K-x / K-5 and forward Pentax has made great strides in High ISO performance.

The K-5 series is IMHO the best example of this.

The K-3 uses a higher MP sensor so some grain may be apparent when compared to the same ISO in a K-5 shot, but any additional noise is easily managed in post - especially if shooting RAW.

Any of the newer Pentax cameras will have greater dynamic range and noise handling than your K-10 (which has a lovely IQ at lower ISO.)

06-15-2015, 12:22 PM   #5
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Any thoughts on low-light? Bar/club/rock show/wedding receptions? Assuming I have a fast lens. Should I expect banding? I'm really tired of 1 in 10 being in focus, and those only because people were still. I want some actual human emotion in my low-light photos.

---------- Post added 06-15-15 at 12:32 PM ----------

I guess I'm asking if there is a typical ISO threshold where banding tends to occur.
06-15-2015, 12:36 PM - 1 Like   #6
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I've never seen banding. This page has samples
Pentax K-3 Review - Low-Light High-ISO | PentaxForums.com Reviews
06-15-2015, 12:46 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dr. Zee Quote
I'm still shooting with my first DSLR, the K10D. Overall I've been very happy with it, aside from one thing, the ISO. I've experienced terrible image noise issues with my K10D, usually linked with ISO. I'm basically stuck with my max range as 800 or I get image ruining noise and banding.

Recently I've been looking through flickr metadata on shots that I like, and I'm noticing a low-light theme where standout images are shot at massive ISO numbers, from 1600-32,000.

It's time to upgrade, and I'm thinking seriously of the K-3 (I'm on a tight budget), but I read in a few reviews that it has some image noise issues.

Can anyone weight in? Happy with noise levels? Unhappy? Words of wisdom?
I assume you are shooting JPEG.

K-3 still one of the top 5 APS-C cameras you can buy when it comes to image quality at all ISOs. I assume you meant 1,600 - 3,200 ISO. Are you shooting for B&W or color? I have no problem going to 3200 for B&W work. I actually really like the K-3 for B&W. If you are happy with the K10D at 800 ISO then you will be very happy with the K-3 at 3,200. If you decide to shoot RAW and process with specialized software like Topaz DeNoise, you will be even happier.
06-15-2015, 12:52 PM   #8
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Shooting RAW, primarily color.

---------- Post added 06-15-15 at 01:01 PM ----------

Yeah, when I say noise, I'm not talking about anything Raw processing can weed out. I'm talking NOISE.

06-15-2015, 01:03 PM - 1 Like   #9
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The ISO noise performance has improved with each generation of cameras. According to some users, the K-5IIs might be slightly better than the K-3, but not by much if at all. Either way, I doubt either of these cameras will disappoint you, and they come for great prices now.
06-15-2015, 01:39 PM - 1 Like   #10
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The K3 leaps ahead of the K10D in virtually all areas when it comes to image quality. You'll get sharper, clearer files with more accurate colors.

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06-15-2015, 04:24 PM - 1 Like   #11
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I upgraded from the K10D to the K-3 a little over a year ago. There is a night and day difference in high ISO performance between the two. I often use TAv mode on the K-3 where doing so on the K10D was something I avoided.


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06-15-2015, 04:29 PM   #12
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Awesome. Thank you everyone.
06-15-2015, 04:44 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dr. Zee Quote
Any thoughts on low-light? Bar/club/rock show/wedding receptions? Assuming I have a fast lens. Should I expect banding? I'm really tired of 1 in 10 being in focus, and those only because people were still. I want some actual human emotion in my low-light photos.

---------- Post added 06-15-15 at 12:32 PM ----------

I guess I'm asking if there is a typical ISO threshold where banding tends to occur.
I upgraded from a K10d to a K3 a week after the K3 released in Aus, the difference in higher iso 800-3200 is amazing but at full res yes the K3 can still carry alot of grain, I shoot Roller derby predominately plus some boxing and live music, and have found I still use my strobes (that I bought to shoot in cave like derby venues with a K10d) on my k3 but I am able to rip off 7+ shots in a row and get some cool sequences... for live music I push the iso and spend more time cleaning up in lightroom, but I am still def. glad I upgraded to the K3 its a beautiful camera and will keep me till the full frame shows up :-) only down side on it is the shake reduction in video really has to be turned off (its terrible) but this I can deal with....
06-15-2015, 05:08 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dr. Zee Quote
Any thoughts on low-light? Bar/club/rock show/wedding receptions? Assuming I have a fast lens. Should I expect banding? I'm really tired of 1 in 10 being in focus, and those only because people were still. I want some actual human emotion in my low-light photos.
Any Pentax from the K-5 onwards will be lightyears ahead of your K10D.
Some live music shots if you're interested. Many of them are taken at ISO 6400 and above.
06-15-2015, 06:16 PM - 1 Like   #15
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Plus you can record movies on the K-3....
I would say the K-7 is twice as good as the K10 and the K-3 is three times better than the K-7... so that might give an idea of the jump you will experience.

On that tangent: Actually, the K-7 is much better than the K10d at ISOs above 640 and even useful up to 3200 in some lighting. (ducks for cover). The K10d still rules at ISO 100 and 200. No digital camera can match how it produces photos that look like (film colour) transparencies.

Bear in mind that even the 25,600 ISO on the K-3 could be resized down to 10Mp and you won't see much noise, so I don't see the extra resolution as a problem, rather it gives you options. High resolution in daylight or lower resolution but less noise for handheld low light. ISO 6400 with the K-3 is pretty much acceptable for any situation and I rarely need to shoot beyond that. Pentax DCU also does a lot of things to improve noise with the K-3's files.
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